Self-driving cars aren’t just great for delivery, highway driving, and long-haul trucking. As researchers at MIT posited in 2011, they have the potential to fill gaps in local transportation — the so-called “last mile” between destinations and public infrastructure like buses, trains, and light rail.
It’s an area of study Google spinoff Waymo intends to explore. It today announced in a Medium post that it’s partnering with the Valley Metro, the Phoenix area’s regional public transportation authority, to “[develop] mobility solutions” that leverage autonomous cars to bridge the gap between public transit and the people who use it.
Waymo hasn’t announced how it’ll eventually charge for the service, but it might be comparable in price to a ride in an Uber or Lyft. Bloomberg reports that the Waymo app currently being tested by members of the company’s Early Rider program began showing hypothetical prices recently, and that one rider’s 11.3-mile trip had an estimated cost of $19.15.
A Waymo spokesperson told Bloomberg that the prices “[do] not reflect the various pricing models under consideration,” and that they’re only meant to “solicit feedback.” In any case, there aren’t currently plans to charge Valley Metro riders.
The first phase of Waymo and the transportation authority’s partnership, which is expected to launch in August, will see customers offered rides to nearby public transportation options in Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans, which they’ll be able to hail using the company’s app.
Later this year, the program will expand to…